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Proposal seeks presumption of shared child custody in Missouri

When a couple divorces, there are multiple decisions that must be made. If they have children, many of these decisions involve who will provide care for them and whether one party must pay child support. A proposed bill in Missouri adds additional requirements for judges when making a child custody determination.

The bill would require that judges presume that a 50/50 shared custody plan is best. Though a bill was passed in 2016 that requires judges to look at a variety of different factors before making a decision regarding custody, this bill requires a "presumed default parenting plan." Rep. David Evans, who consulted with the author of the bill, says that some judges still hold a bias that one parent -- typically the child's mother -- should have custody.

According to Evans, the couple could come to an alternative plan on their own, because they know their family situation better than anyone. Doing so would prevent the need for a hearing before a judge. One attorney has expressed concern over the proposed bill, arguing that it could potentially result in more emphasis placed on a parent's wishes rather than what is truly in the best interest of the child.

When it comes to making a determination of child custody, parents who are going through a divorce or are no longer in a romantic relationship may struggle to agree on what is in the best interest of their children. As this disagreement can lead to a court battle in Missouri and other areas of the country, most parents in this situation want an attorney who is experienced with this sort of case to ensure that their voice is heard and all relevant information is presented to the court. With such a professional, parents often feel better prepared to ensure that their concerns are represented.

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